O how I long for it; hunger and thirst after it. Yet oh how it evokes in me the most paralyzing fear. Nothing terrifies me more than being exposed, having my inner feelings and thoughts made available for viewing by those around me - even those close to me. 

Those of you familiar with rejection will grasp what I am saying. You want to play the lead role, you long for the approval, the acceptance, the closeness and connection. But what if you forget the lines, or even worse, say the wrong lines? What if you pour out the deepest parts of your heart, share the values and convictions you esteem, unwrap that which is precious to you, to the world and the world says, "Meh"? Even worse, what if you open the door to your innermost to those closest to you, those who "owe" it to love you and you are met with cold response?

Intimacy has a way of shutting itself down. If we let it.

Jesus was familiar with rejection. He suffered under the slung slurs of those in authority. He felt the abandonment of the closest of friends. He knew the betrayal of His followers. Jesus was mocked in His own home town. He was called a demon by those He reasoned with. It seems at every turn in His caring, Jesus experienced what it was to be rejected. Yet He kept on loving, He kept on pouring out, He kept on being God with us, Emmanuel. He shared who He was with the least of us.

How could Jesus keep on loving and putting Himself out there while the objects of His love failed, flung, and fought? What was His secret?

Well, Jesus never looked to any man to define His identity; affirmation came from only one place - His Father. Jesus knew who He was and He knew who was in Him. "Behold my Son in whom I am well pleased." Time away with the Father was not an option for Jesus, for in this time I believe Jesus saw what He needed to see, heard what He needed to hear, and was anchored in His identity.

No one can live without intimacy. Yes, we can hobble with the help of the tools of escape that dull the pain of shallowness, but we'll never really live without it. One song claims love hurts, maybe true, yet life without risk, without intimacy, is no life at all.

When I was very young in my faith, God, in His wisdom and foresight, spoke two very specific and personal promises to me. He told me He would never leave me or forsake me and that He would flow from me like rivers of living water. He was saying in essence, all others may leave you, you may have even felt abandoned, but I will never leave you, I will always be your Source.

Today, I want to encourage you (and myself) to realize who you belong to, and to know that you can be real with others - you can let down the guard in the name of love and be yourself. Intimacy is an option. I'd like to close this blog entry with a quote from a sermon by Charles Spurgeon called, "The Man of Sorrows",

"Such love as the love of Jesus could not for the sake of those it loved bear to be slighted."

If Christ can love us with such transparent and vulnerable love, even at the risk of the affront of offense, I have to believe that we can love others in like manner.


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